Parents clashed in front of Luleka Primary School in Khayelitsha, Harare, yesterday over the principal’s announcement that each family was to contribute an extra R100 to pay security guards at the school.
About 30 parents gathered at the school yesterday to have a meeting with principal Ngcobani Mthotywa and School Governing Body chairperson Vuyani Maphuma but as the gates were locked, they proceeded to hold the meeting on the street.
However, when a group of parents suggested they should lock the gate this morning, matters got heated and insults were flung about as a contingent of parents swore no-one would stop their children going to school.
Luleka Primary is the fifth school in Cape Town to protest against their principal this year.
The other schools where learning has been disrupted by protests are: Dr Nelson Mandela High School in Crossroads, Nomlinganiselwa Primary School, in New Crossroads, Rainbow Primary School in West Bank and Qingqa Mntwana Primary School, also in Crossroads.
One parent, Masixole Mgutyana, said Mthotywa and Maphuma took decisions without consulting parents.
Mgutyana said he received an sms from Maphuma telling him to look for another school for his child because his child was no longer welcome as a learner at Luleka Primary.
He said his child had done nothing wrong and he believed he was being victimized for asking questions about the school budget.
Mgutyana said additionally, Maphuma had not been voted in as SGB chair but had simply elected himself.
Despite the unhappiness over the principal and SGB chair, many of the parents said their children’s education was a priority.
“We send our children to school because we want them to get education and I’m not expecting any parents to come here and take that away from my children,” said parent Joyce Mbangi.
“We are all in the same boat here, we’re all saying we are not going to pay the R100, the department of education must deal with the school security,” said Mbagi.
However, she said if some of the parents handled the issue in a violent manner, “then we will fight”.
“Our children must get the education they deserve and parents have no right to disturb that.”
Western Cape Education Department official Blackie Swart, who was at the meeting, said there was “always an issue of one parent who was not voted to be on the School Governing Body, but in order for us to investigate the matter we need facts”.
“Parents must have something in writing so that we can investigate it,” said Swart.
He begged parents not to close the school gate tomorrow, saying it would disturb the children’s education.
However, the majority of parents at the meeting vowed to lock the school gates in protest this morning and prevent teaching occurring at the school until Mthotywa and Maphuma left. – Nombulelo Damba